Policy Brief: What Does an Influential African Union in the G20 look like?

A new Policy Brief by Development Reimagined gives reasons for the African Union (AU) to join the G20 as a permanent member, offering compelling reasons for this crucial step. The G20, consisting of the European Union and 19 leading economies, was established in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis to address economic and financial issues. Conversely, the AU, originally formed for African unity, holds a broader mandate.

The Policy Brief highlights the positive outcomes of the AU’s inclusion in the G20. By becoming a permanent member, the African Union will enhance multilateralism and foster stronger economic growth. Closer relationships between the continent and the G20 will facilitate increased trade and cooperation, leading to mutually beneficial outcomes.

Additionally, the Policy Brief addresses frequently asked questions to provide clarity. It explains that the AU representatives at the G20 would receive support for their preparation work. The AU joining the G20 will benefit other G20 members through diverse perspectives and insights, without causing overcrowding or compromising donor-funded activities within the AU. Importantly, the heads of state of the African Union have granted the African Union Commission and the African Union Chairperson the mandate to represent them at the G20.

In the context of Africa’s engagement with the G20, the Policy Brief also highlights the past coordination efforts by African countries and institutions. The C-10, comprising Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, the Central Bank of West African States (CBWAS), and the Central Bank of Central African States (CBCAS), played a pivotal role. Established in 2008, the C-10 aimed to monitor the impact of the global financial crisis on Africa, advocate for increased African participation in international financial institutions, and develop an African G20 engagement strategy.

Despite its limitations and challenges, the C-10 made significant contributions to African representation in the G20. The committee collaborated with institutions like the AfDB, NEPAD, and the AU to promote African interests. Their recommendations focused on increasing African voice in IFIs, scaling up investments in infrastructure and agriculture, developing follow-up mechanisms, enhancing transparency in project implementation, securing an official African seat at the G20, and advocating for IMF reform.

In conclusion, Development Reimagined’s Policy Brief highlights the importance of the AU’s permanent membership in the G20, emphasizing the benefits of closer ties, enhanced multilateralism, and economic growth. It also acknowledges the significant contributions of past coordination efforts, such as those undertaken by the C-10, in shaping Africa’s representation in the G20. Through these collective efforts, Africa can strengthen its global engagement, influence decision-making, and drive positive change for the continent’s development and prosperity.

The Policy Brief is available for download in English, Spanish and Arabic.

May 2023

The New African Union Commission headquarters building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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